Boating Safety Facts to Keep You Safe on the Water


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When the spring and summer weather hits, thousands of Floridians hit the waves alongside their tourist compatriots for fun in the sun. But every year at the same time, boating accidents go up due to several factors including the added traffic on the waterways. In Florida alone, there are over 5,000 boating accidents annually. However, knowledge can be a powerful thing and knowing how to best avoid an accident can actually save your life.

One of the chief culprits when it comes to causing boating accidents is alcohol. Just like driving under the influence can often lead to fatalities, boating under the influence is also a major problem. In fact, alcohol contributes to 21% of all boating accident fatalities. Just like it is imperative that you not drink and drive and that you keep a designated driver on stand-by when you go out, it is equally imperative that you not imbibe while operating a boat or other water vehicle. If you are involved in an accident that injures or kills someone else, you can be held accountable—especially if you have been drinking.

Another major contributing factor is the lack of boating safety instructions. In many cases, just the knowledge of what to do in a dangerous situation and how to handle the boat properly can actually help to prevent an accident. Of all boating fatalities, 86% involved a boat operator who had not received any boating safety instruction. Florida currently offers an online boating safety certification that can not only keep you safe, but also lower your boat insurance premiums and save you money in the long run.

Finally, one of the simplest things that a person can do to stay safe on the water is wear a life preserver/life jacket. Many people complain that they are too bulky or not necessary, but the facts don’t bear this out: 90% of the people who drowned as a result of a boating accident were not wearing a life jacket. This is probably the easiest fix for keeping yourself alive and safe.

The top five causes of boating accidents are operator inattention, reckless boating, reckless behavior, speeding, and alcohol use. The owner of the boat can be held legally responsible for any personal injuries as a result of an accident. If you have been injured in such an incident, the attorneys at Wolf & Pravato will independently review your case and apprise you of your rights and the options you have regarding reimbursement for your injury.

More often than not, the operator of the boat never attended any safety training and could have been under the influence of alcohol.   In most cases, the operator of the watercraft can be held liable in accidents.  At Wolf & Pravato we will conduct our own investigation into the accident and fight to get you everything you deserve.

Recreational Boating Safety Statistics the USCG reported that:

  • Over two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and of those, 90%percent were not wearing a life jacket.
  • Only 14%  of deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received boating safety instruction.
  • Three out of every four boaters who drowned were using vessels less than 21 feet in length.
  • Operator inattention, careless/reckless operation, passenger/skier behavior, excessive speed, and alcohol use rank as the top five primary contributing factors in accidents.
  • Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; it was listed as the leading factor in 21% of the deaths.
  • The most common types of vessels involved in reported accidents were open motorboats (44%), personal watercraft (24%), and cabin motorboats (15%)

Injured parties may file a lawsuit for compensation for their pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost past and future wages and punitive damages.  If you have been involved in a boating accident, contact Wolf & Pravato today.

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Boating Safety Course in Florida

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